Tuesday, May 22, 2012

John Malveaux: Famed Soprano Matilda Sissieretta Joyner 'was the first black performer to appear at Carnegie Hall, in 1892'

John Malveaux of www.MusicUNTOLD.com writes:

Matilda Sissieretta Joyner was born in Portsmouth, Virginia in either 1868 or 1869.  At the age of 14, she married David Richard Jones, a news dealer and hotel bellman.  At 18, she was accepted to the prestigious New England Conservatory of Music, in Boston. Her teacher in Boston was Flora Batson, one of the first black women in America to have an international career in classical music. 

She performed at the White House for four different presidents: Harrison, Cleveland, McKinley, and Teddy Roosevelt. She also sang for Queen Victoria and the royal family in England, and the Kaiser in Germany. She was the first black performer to appear at Carnegie Hall, in 1892, and was a muse and inspiration for composer Antonín Dvořák. She sang at Covent Garden in London, and the Wintergarten in Berlin. 

In the United States, she was invited to perform at the Pittsburgh Exhibition, and the Chicago Worlds Exhibition, in 1893. In the 1890's, she was the highest paid African American performer in the world. At the height of her career, she sang for Queen Victoria, Pope Leo VIII, and Hawaiian Queen Liliuokalani. 

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